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US6786862B2 - Graft vessel preparation device and methods for using the same - Google Patents

Graft vessel preparation device and methods for using the same Download PDF

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Publication number
US6786862B2
US6786862B2 US10367175 US36717503A US6786862B2 US 6786862 B2 US6786862 B2 US 6786862B2 US 10367175 US10367175 US 10367175 US 36717503 A US36717503 A US 36717503A US 6786862 B2 US6786862 B2 US 6786862B2
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Prior art keywords
vessel
graft
spreader
clamp
fig
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Expired - Fee Related
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US10367175
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US20030163023A1 (en )
Inventor
Jaime Vargas
Ted Bender
David Bombard
Jeremy Frank
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Dextera Surgical Inc
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Dextera Surgical Inc
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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61FFILTERS IMPLANTABLE INTO BLOOD VESSELS; PROSTHESES; DEVICES PROVIDING PATENCY TO, OR PREVENTING COLLAPSING OF, TUBULAR STRUCTURES OF THE BODY, E.G. STENTS; ORTHOPAEDIC, NURSING OR CONTRACEPTIVE DEVICES; FOMENTATION; TREATMENT OR PROTECTION OF EYES OR EARS; BANDAGES, DRESSINGS OR ABSORBENT PADS; FIRST-AID KITS
    • A61F2/00Filters implantable into blood vessels; Prostheses, i.e. artificial substitutes or replacements for parts of the body; Appliances for connecting them with the body; Devices providing patency to, or preventing collapsing of, tubular structures of the body, e.g. stents
    • A61F2/02Prostheses implantable into the body
    • A61F2/04Hollow or tubular parts of organs, e.g. bladders, tracheae, bronchi or bile ducts
    • A61F2/06Blood vessels
    • A61F2/062Apparatus for the production of blood vessels made from natural tissue or with layers of living cells
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61FFILTERS IMPLANTABLE INTO BLOOD VESSELS; PROSTHESES; DEVICES PROVIDING PATENCY TO, OR PREVENTING COLLAPSING OF, TUBULAR STRUCTURES OF THE BODY, E.G. STENTS; ORTHOPAEDIC, NURSING OR CONTRACEPTIVE DEVICES; FOMENTATION; TREATMENT OR PROTECTION OF EYES OR EARS; BANDAGES, DRESSINGS OR ABSORBENT PADS; FIRST-AID KITS
    • A61F2/00Filters implantable into blood vessels; Prostheses, i.e. artificial substitutes or replacements for parts of the body; Appliances for connecting them with the body; Devices providing patency to, or preventing collapsing of, tubular structures of the body, e.g. stents
    • A61F2/02Prostheses implantable into the body
    • A61F2/04Hollow or tubular parts of organs, e.g. bladders, tracheae, bronchi or bile ducts
    • A61F2/06Blood vessels

Abstract

A graft vessel preparation device and a method for using the graft vessel preparation device is provided. The graft vessel preparation device establishes and maintains a critical dimension on a graft vessel which corresponds to a dimension of an anastomosis site on a target vessel. One example of a graft vessel preparation device which prepares a graft vessel for a vascular anastomosis procedure includes a parallelogram linkage, a first spreader arm and a second spreader arm. The first spreader arm and the second spreader arm mount on opposing members of the parallelogram linkage in a parallel configuration. The spreader arms are configured in order to allow the placement of an end of a graft vessel over the spreader arms. The spreader arms are also configured to separate within an interior of the graft vessel once the graft vessel is placed over the spreader arms in order to establish a critical dimension. The critical dimension is established using a critical dimension locator. The critical dimension locator allows for precise grafting of the graft vessel to a target vessel during the vascular anastomosis procedure.

Description

This application is a Continuation of 09/712,044 filed Nov. 13, 2000, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,554,764.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to preparing blood vessels for a vascular anastomosis procedure and more particularly to a graft vessel preparation device which facilitates precise incision of a graft vessel for an anastomosis procedure.

2. Description of Related Art

Vascular anastomosis is a procedure where two separate blood vessels of a patient are surgically grafted together. The vascular anastomosis procedure is routinely performed during the treatment of a variety of conditions, including coronary artery disease, diseases of the great and peripheral vessels, organ transplantation and other types of trauma. When a patient suffers from coronary-artery disease (CAD), an occlusion or stenosis in a coronary artery restricts blood flow to the heart muscle. In order to treat CAD, the area where the occlusion occurs is bypassed. The area is bypassed through rerouting blood flow by grafting a vessel in the form of either a prosthesis, a harvested artery or a vein. When the vessel is grafted to bypass the blocked coronary artery, the occlusion is avoided and adequate blood flow is restored to the heart muscle. This treatment is known as coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG).

When a CABG is performed, a large incision is made in the chest of a patient and the sternum is separated in order to allow access to the heart of the patient. Moreover, the patient is connected to a heart lung machine which circulates the blood of the patient. After the heart lung machine is connected to the patient, the patient's heart is stopped in order to perform the vascular anastomosis. However, stopping the patient's heart is very traumatic to the patient.

In order to minimize the trauma to the patient induced by the CABG, less invasive techniques have been used. These less invasive techniques include performing a series of small incisions in the patient's chest. Once the incisions are completed, surgery is performed with the aid of visualizing scopes. The less invasive techniques may be performed on a beating heart in order minimize trauma to the patient, thereby avoiding the need for cardiopulmonary bypass.

In both conventional and less invasive CABG techniques, a surgeon sutures one end of the graft vessel to the coronary artery and the other end of the graft vessel to a blood supplying vein or artery, such as the aorta, in order to bypass the occlusion. Prior to suturing the graft vessel to the arteries, called target vessels, an incision is made in the target vessel to allow suturing of the graft vessel to the target vessel. Typically, the surgeon cuts the incision in the target vessel to an appropriate length depending on a size of the graft vessel in order to suture the graft vessel to the target vessel. However, a great amount of skill and time is required in making the incision due to the small size of the graft vessel. Likewise, time and skill is required in aligning the graft vessel to the incision. Performing the anastomosis is further compounded by the small size and the flexible, circular configuration of the of the graft vessel. In addition, the surgeon has difficulties holding and suturing in the graft vessel due to the small size an d the flexible, circular configuration of the blood vessel.

Accordingly, a need exists for an automated method which allows a surgeon to make a precise anastomosis between a graft vessel and a target vessel. This new method should implement a grafting tool which allows a surgeon to control the thin and difficult to handle tissue of the graft and target vessel. Moreover, it would be desirable to implement a grafting tool which allows for making incisions in a graft vessel to establish a predetermined length which matches a length of an incision in a target vessel.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention fills the aforementioned needs by providing a graft vessel preparation device which prepares a graft vessel for a vascular anastomosis procedure. The present invention also provides a method for preparing a graft vessel for a vascular anastomosis procedure using the graft vessel preparation device.

In one embodiment of the present invention, a graft vessel preparation device for preparing a graft vessel is disclosed. The graft vessel preparation device prepares the graft vessel for a vascular anastomosis procedure. The preparation device comprises a spreader, a critical dimension locator and a clamp. The spreader is configured to receive and stretch an end portion of the graft vessel. The critical dimension locator is configured to establish a critical dimension on the graft vessel after the graft vessel is placed over the spreader. The clamp coordinates both the spreader and the critical dimension locator in order to fix the critical dimension on the graft vessel. The critical dimension allows for precise grafting of the graft vessel to a coronary artery during a vascular anastomosis procedure.

In a further embodiment of the present invention, a graft vessel preparation device for preparing a graft vessel for a vascular anastomosis procedure is disclosed. The preparation device comprises a parallelogram linkage, a first spreader arm and a second spreader arm. The first spreader arm and the second spreader arm are mounted on opposing members of the parallelogram linkage such that the first spreader arm and the second spreader arm are parallel to one another. The parallelogram linkage also provides motion to the spreader arms whereby the spreader arms are movable with respect to each other. Also, the spreader arms are configured to receive an end of a graft vessel as the graft vessel is placed on to the graft vessel preparation device. Moreover, the spreader arms separate from one another to establish a critical dimension on the graft vessel.

In another embodiment of the present invention, a graft vessel preparation device for preparing a graft vessel for a vascular anastomosis procedure is disclosed. The graft vessel preparation device includes a base, first and second spreader arms, an extension link and a holding clamp. The base includes a first part and a second part which are movable with respect to each other. The first and second spreader arms are attached to the first and second parts of the base of the graft vessel preparation device. Also, the spreader arms are configured to receive an end of the graft vessel when the graft vessel is placed over the spreader arms. The extension link of the graft vessel preparation device is rotatably attached to the base and is configured to separate the first and second spreader arms. The holding clamp of the graft vessel preparation device is substantially aligned with the extension link and clamps the graft vessel.

In yet another embodiment of the present invention, a method for preparing a graft vessel for an anastomosis procedure using a graft vessel preparation device is disclosed. The graft vessel preparation device includes spreader arms that are movable with respect to each other. The method comprises placing the graft vessel over the spreader arms such that the spreader arms occupy an interior of the graft vessel. Once the graft vessel is placed over the spreader arms, the spreader arms are moved from one another to stretch the graft vessel. A critical dimension is then established once the graft vessel is stretched. The critical dimension is established by moving the spreader arms away from one another with the parallelogram linkage.

In a further embodiment of the present invention, a graft vessel flapper is disclosed. The graft vessel flapper comprises spreader arms which are movable with respect to each other and a clamp. The clamp, which is rotatable with respect to the spreader arms, clamps a graft vessel placed over the spreader arms. In addition, the clamp establishes a critical dimension of the graft vessel.

In another embodiment of the present invention, a method for preparing a graft vessel using a graft vessel preparation device is disclosed. The method includes forming an incision in a target vessel such that an incision perimeter is formed in the target vessel. The graft vessel is then prepared by establishing and maintaining a critical dimension of the graft vessel. The critical dimension is formed on the graft vessel such that the perimeter of the critical dimension is the same as the incision perimeter of the target vessel. The congruity of between the incision perimeter of the target vessel and the perimeter of the of the critical dimension allow for proper grafting of the graft vessel to the target vessel during a vascular anastomosis procedure.

As may be appreciated, the present invention provides a device which allows an automated method for preparing graft vessels for a vascular anastomosis procedure. The present invention precisely and accurately slices a graft vessel such that the graft vessel will graft with a coronary artery during the vascular anastomosis procedure.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

Many advantages of the present invention will be apparent to those skilled the art with a reading of this specification in conjunction with the attached drawings, wherein like reference numerals are applied to like elements and wherein:

FIG. 1 is a schematic top view of a graft vessel preparation device having a graft vessel inserted over spreader arms in preparation for grafting, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 illustrates a schematic top view of the graft vessel preparation device of FIG. 1 where spreader arms are separated by a tension spring, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a top view of the graft vessel preparation device of FIG. 2 which shows a second clamp portion attached to a first clamp portion, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4A is a schematic top view of the graft vessel preparation device of FIG. 3 illustrating incisors slicing a graft vessel, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4B shows perspective view of a graft vessel more clearly illustrating a critical dimension Y on the graft vessel, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4C illustrates an isometric view of the insertion of a anastomosis tool having an anvil into a target vessel, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4D is an isometric view of the target vessel showing the stabilization of target vessel after the anvil is inserted into the target vessel.

FIG. 4E shows a side view of the spreader arm of FIG. 4A which more clearly shows grooves in the side of the spreader arm, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5 illustrates a schematic top view of the graft vessel preparation device of FIG. 4A where the graft vessel is removed from the graft vessel preparation device, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 6 is a side view of the clamp of the graft vessel preparation device of FIG. 5 formed by a first clamp portion and a second clamp portion in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 7 illustrates a side view of the clamp of FIG. 6 being inserted onto a anastomosis tool in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 8 illustrates a method for slicing a graft vessel in preparation for a grafting procedure in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 9 illustrates a perspective view of graft vessel preparation device in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 10A shows a side view of a spreader of the graft vessel preparation device of FIG. 9, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 10B illustrates a side view of the spreader of FIG. 10A, where the spreader is in a locked position in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 11 shows a side view of the spreader of FIG. 10A, where graft vessel placed over the spreader in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 12 shows a perspective view of a critical dimension locator of the graft vessel preparation device of FIG. 9, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 13A is an embodiment of the present invention where the spreader and graft vessel of FIG. 10B are engaged with the critical dimension locator of FIG. 12.

FIG. 13B shows the spreader and the graft vessel of FIG. 13A rotated clockwise within the critical dimension locator of FIG. 13A in order to establish a critical dimension Y in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 14A shows a perspective view of a second clamp half of the graft vessel preparation device of FIG. 9, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 14B shows a bottom view of the second clamp half of FIG. 14A, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 15 shows a top view of the slicing of the graft vessel of FIG. 13B with incisors in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 16 illustrates the insertion of the graft vessel preparation device of FIG. 9 onto a anastomosis tool in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 17 shows a method for preparing a graft vessel for an anastomosis procedure in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

A graft vessel preparation device and a method for using the graft vessel preparation device is disclosed. As an overview, the present invention relates to a graft vessel preparation device which prepares graft vessels for a vascular anastomosis procedure. During the vascular anastomosis procedure, the graft vessel is grafted to a target vessel, such as a coronary artery. As will be discussed in much greater detail below and with respect to the accompanying Figures, the present invention allows a surgeon to make precise incisions into a graft vessel prior to grafting the vessel to an artery. Moreover, using the graft vessel preparation device, a surgeon may make the incisions to create or define a critical dimension. The critical dimension ensures proper grafting of the graft vessel to the target vessel during the vascular anastomosis procedure. Proper grafting of the graft vessel to the target vessel is ensured since an incision having the critical dimension made in the graft vessel is equivalent to an incision having the critical dimension made in the target vessel.

Now making reference to the Figures, and more particularly to FIG. 1, FIG. 1 shows a graft vessel preparation device 100 having a graft vessel 112 inserted over spreader arms 108 a and 108 b in preparation for grafting. The graft vessel preparation device 100 has a first base plate 102 a, a second base plate 102 b, the spreader arms 108 a and 108 b, and an extension link 104. The graft vessel preparation device 100 also includes a first clamp portion 110 a which is rotatably attached to the first base plate 102 a and the second base plate 102 b. The graft vessel 112 may be a vessel taken from the body of a patient, such as from the leg of the patient, a synthetic graft, or other graft to be used to bypass an occlusion during a vascular anastomosis procedure. As will be described further with respect to FIGS. 4C and 4D, the graft vessel 112 is grafted to a target vessel 124 of the patient.

The bases 102 a and 102 b include the spreader arms 108 a and 108 b, the extension link 104 and the first clamp portion 110 a. The spreader arm 108 a is rigidly attached to the first base plate 102 a using any technique known in the art, including fasteners and machining such that the first base plate 102 a and the spreader arm 108 a form a single unit. The spreader arm 108 b is rigidly attached to the second base plate 102 b in the same manner as the spreader arm 108 a is attached to the first base plate 102 a. The extension link 104 rotatably attaches the first base plate 102 a to the second base plate 102 b with fasteners 106. The fasteners 106 may be any suitable fastener which allows rotatable connection between the extension link 104 and both the first base plate 102 a and the second base plate 102 b. The first clamp portion 110 a is rotatably connected to both the first base plate 102 a and the second base plate 102 b in the same manner as the extension link 104 is attached to both the first base plate 102 a and the second base plate 102 b. The base plates 102 a and 102 b, the extension link 104 and the first clamp portion 110 a together form a parallelogram linkage. In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the base plates 102 a and 102 b are linkages similar to the extension link 104 such that the linkages, along with the extension link 104 and the first clamp portion 110 a form a parallelogram linkage.

In one embodiment of the present invention, the base 102 a is rigidly attached to a support base 107. As previously described, the extension link 104 rotatably attaches the base 102 b to the base 102 a. Therefore, as will be further discussed with reference to FIG. 2, as the extension link 104 rotates, the base 102 b, which is not rigidly attached to the support base 107, separates from the base 102 a.

Also shown with respect to FIG. 1 is the angle X1. The angle X1 is the angle which both the first clamp portion 110 a and the extension link 104 form with respect to the X axis as shown with reference to FIG. 1. As may be seen, the first clamp portion 110 a and the extension link 104 are substantially parallel with one another such that the angle X1 of the extension link 104 is substantially the same as the angle X1 of the first clamp portion 110 a.

Furthermore, as may be seen with respect to FIG. 1, the spreaders arms 108 a and 108 b are adjacent to one another such that they form a single unit. The spreader arms 108 a and 108 b are held adjacent to each other to form the single unit with a lock. The lock may be any device suitable for holding the second-base plate 102 b such that the spreaders arms 108 a and 108 b form a single unit, such as a clamp or fasteners. In one embodiment of the present invention, a clamp 103 is used to clamp the second base plate 102 b to form the single unit between the spreader arms 108 a and 108 b. The clamp 103 includes a grommet 105 which is in contact with the second-base plate 102 b when the graft vessel preparation device 100 is in a locked position. When the clamp 103 releases the second base plate 102 b, the spreader arms 108 a and 108 b separate from one another, as shown with reference to FIG. 2.

FIG. 2 is an embodiment of the present invention where the spreader arms 108 a and 108 b have been separated by a tension spring 114. The tension spring 114 is rigidly attached to the second base plate 102 b at one end and anchored (not shown) at the end opposite to the end rigidly attached to the second base plate 102 b. The tension spring 114 is rigidly attached to the second base plate 102 b with any suitable technique known in the art, such as a fastener or a clip. Once the lock is disengaged, the tension spring 114 pulls on the second base plate 102 b in a downward direction, thereby separating the spreader arms 108 a and 108 b from each other.

A force imparted by the tension spring 114 to separate the spreader arm 108 a from the spreader arm 108 b may be selected such that the spreader arms exert a force within the graft vessel 112 in a range preferably between about 40 mm Hg and about 100 mm Hg, and more preferably about 60 mm Hg. This allows the graft vessel 112 to be stretched by the graft preparation device to a condition which accurately mimics the condition of the graft vessel after completion of the anastomosis. In this embodiment, the tension spring 114 has a pretension of about 0.2 lbs., a rate between about 0.1 lb./in. to about 1 lb./in. and a length of about 1 inch.

As the tensile spring 114 pulls on the second base plate 102 b to separate the spreader arms 108 a and 108 b from each other, the extension link 104 rotates to an angle X2 with respect to the X axis to separate the first base plate 102 a from the second base plate 102 b. When the extension link 104 rotates, the spreader arms 108 a and 108 b separate from one another since the spreader arms 108 a and 108 b are rigidly attached to the base plates 102 a and 102 b. The tensile spring 114 continues to separate the spreader arms 108 a and 108 b from one another until the movement of the spreader arms 108 a and 108 b is limited by the fully extended the graft vessel 112. After the spreader arms 108 a and 108 b come into contact with the interior walls of the graft vessel 112 and stretch the graft vessel 112 to the desired amount, a second clamp portion 110 b is attached to the first clamp portion 110 a, as shown with respect to FIG. 3.

FIG. 3 shows the second clamp portion 110 b attached to the first clamp portion 110 a to trap the graft vessel 112 in a clamp 110, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention. The second clamp portion 110 b attaches to the first clamp portion 110 a using fasteners 116. The fasteners 116 may be any suitable type of fastener which securely fastens the second clamp portion 110 b to the first clamp portion 110 a, such as a threaded fastener or the like. In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the clamp 110 may have a single-piece hinged design where the clamp 110 a is rotatably attached with the clamp 110 b with any suitable technique, such as a hinge or the like. When the second clamp portion 110 b is attached to the first clamp portion 110 a, the angle X2 is maintained such that the second clamp portion 110 b is substantially aligned with the extension link 104. Once the second clamp portion 110 b is attached to the first clamp portion 110 a, the graft vessel 112 is trapped by the clamp 110. When the graft vessel 112 is trapped by the clamp 110, the graft vessel 112 is ready for incision, or in an alternative embodiment, eversion. It should be noted that the trapped graft vessel 112 is sufficiently flattened by the clamp 110 to hold the graft vessel 112 in place without damaging the graft vessel 112.

Now making reference to FIG. 4A, FIG. 4A illustrates incisors 118 a and 118 b slicing the graft vessel 112, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention. The incisors 118 a and 118 b may be any type of device suitable for slicing a graft vessel, such as a scalpel, a knife, scissors, shears, or the like. The incisors 118 a and 118 b begin slicing the graft vessel 112 at incision points 120 a and 120 b. The incision points 120 a and 120 b define a critical dimension Y, as shown more clearly with reference to FIG. 4B.

FIG. 4B shows the critical dimension Y on the graft vessel 112, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention. The critical dimension Y is defined by the incision points 120 a and 120 b along the graft vessel 112. The incision points 112 a and 112 b are defined as the points where the first clamp portion 110 a and the second clamp portion 110 b intersect with the graft vessel 112. The defining and maintaining of critical dimension Y with the clamp 110 allows for proper grafting of the graft vessel to a target vessel during the vascular anastomosis procedure: To further illustrate the anastomosis procedure, reference is now made to FIG. 4C.

FIG. 4C illustrates the insertion of a anastomosis tool 126 having an anvil 128 into a target vessel 124. In order to graft the graft vessel 112 to the target vessel 124 during the vascular anastomosis procedure, an incision must be made in the target vessel 124 which allows the grafting of the graft vessel 112 to the target vessel 124. In order to make the incision, the anvil 128 of the anastomosis tool is first inserted into the target vessel 124. After the anvil 128 is inserted into the target vessel 124 the anvil is lifted in order to stabilize a wall of the target vessel 124 at the anastomosis site, as shown with reference to FIG. 4D.

FIG. 4D illustrates the stabilization of the target vessel 124 after the anvil 128 is inserted into the target vessel 124. Once the anvil 128 is lifted to stabilize the target vessel 124, a critical dimension X is established along the target vessel 124 as shown with reference to FIG. 4D. The critical dimension X corresponds substantially to the length of the anvil 128 along which the graft vessel 112 will be stapled, sutured or otherwise connected. In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, the critical dimension Y established by the incision points 120 a and 120 b is equal or substantially equal to the critical dimension X formed by the anvil 128. A length on an incision made in the target vessel 124 is substantially the same as the critical dimension X. The incision may be made before or after the graft vessel 112 is connected to the target vessel 124. Therefore, the formation of the critical dimension Y along the graft vessel 112 ensures that the graft vessel 112 will be properly grafted to the target vessel 124 during the grafting procedure.

Turning back to FIG. 4A, once the incisors 118 a and 118 b are placed at the incision points. 120 a and 120 b, the graft vessel 112 is sliced by the incisors 118 a and 118 b in a direction depicted by directional arrows B. As the incisors 118 a and 118 b slice the graft vessel 112, the incisors 118 a and 118 b may be guided by grooves 101 in the spreader arms 108 a and 108 b, as shown with reference to FIG. 4E. It should be noted that the critical dimension Y may also be maintained using other suitable techniques in addition to slicing the graft vessel, such as everting the graft vessel, or the like. In addition, in an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the spreader arms 108 a and 108 b may be removed from the graft vessel 112 and the graft vessel 112 may be sliced with scissors or a similar apparatus. In this alternative embodiment, the clamp 110 maintains the critical dimension of the graft vessel 112 as the graft vessel 112 is sliced with scissors starting at the incision points 120 a and 120 b.

Now making reference to FIG. 4E, FIG. 4E shows the groove 101 in one of the spreader arms 108 a or 108 b, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention. The groove 101 guides the incisor 118 a as the incisor 118 a slices the graft vessel 112. The groove 101 also provides a hard surface for the incisor 118 a as the incisor 118 a slices the graft vessel 112. It should be noted that the spreader arm 108 b also includes a groove (not shown) which guides the incisor 118 b as the incisor 118 b slices the graft vessel 112.

Now making reference to FIG. 5, FIG. 5 illustrates removing the graft vessel 112 from the graft vessel preparation device 100, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention. Once the incisions are made in the graft vessel 112 with the incisors 118 a and 118 b, the graft vessel 112 is removed from the graft vessel preparation device 100. The clamp 110, which is formed by the first clamp portion 110 a and the second clamp portion 110 b, is used to hold the graft vessel 112 during removal of the graft vessel 112 from the graft vessel preparation device 100. The clamp 110 maintains the critical dimension Y of the graft vessel as the clamp 110 is attached to an automated anastomosis tool 132, as will be described in greater-detail with respect to FIG. 7. It should be noted that any device capable of holding the graft vessel 112 may be substituted for the clamp 110. The clamp 110 is configured to attach to the anastomosis tool 132, as shown with reference to FIG. 6.

FIG. 6 is a side view of the clamp 110 which is formed by the first clamp portion 110 a and the second clamp portion 110 b, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention. The first clamp portion 110 a and the second clamp portion 110 b contain alignment holes 130 a through 130 d. The alignment holes 130 a through 130 d align the clamp 110 with the anastomosis tool 132. It should be noted that other alignment features may be used to align the clamp 110 with the anastomosis tool 132, such as a dovetail groove or the like. Also, the alignment holes 130 a through 130 d facilitate proper engagement of the clamp 110 with the anastomosis tool 132, as shown with reference to FIG. 7.

FIG. 7 illustrates the insertion of the clamp 110 onto the anastomosis tool 132 in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention. The anastomosis tool 132 performs an anastomosis by connecting the graft vessel 112 to the target vessel 124. One example of an anastomosis tool which may be used is described in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/363,255, which is incorpoarted herein by reference in its entirety. The clamp 110 and the graft vessel 112 must be attached to the anastomosis tool in order to complete the vascular anastomosis procedure. After the graft vessel 112 is sliced and removed from the graft vessel preparation device 100 using the clamp 110, the clamp 110 is transferred to the anastomosis tool 132 and attached to the anastomosis tool 132 via the alignment holes 130 a through 130 d. The alignment holes 130 a through 130 d fit over corresponding alignment pins 134 of the anastomosis tool 132. The alignment pins 134 ensure that the graft vessel 112 fits properly within the anastomosis tool 132 in order to allow proper grafting of the graft vessel 112 with the target vessel 124. The alignment pins 134 are rigidly attached to the anastomosis tool 132 by any suitable means, including pressing or molding the alignment pins 134 with the anastomosis tool 132 from a single material, such as acrylonitrite butadiene styrene (ABS) or polycarbonate; or threaded fasteners or the like. Once the clamp 110 along with the graft vessel 112 is attached to the anastomosis tool 132, the vascular anastomosis procedure may be performed.

Now making reference to FIG. 8, FIG. 8 illustrates a method 200 for slicing a graft vessel in preparation for a vascular anastomosis procedure, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention. In operation 202 of the method 200, a graft vessel preparation device is locked. When the graft vessel preparation device is locked, spreader arms located on the graft vessel preparation device are adjacent to one another such that a single unit is formed. For example, the graft vessel preparation device 100 shown with respect to FIG. 1 is placed in a locked position such that the spreader arms 108 a and 108 b are adjacent to one another to form a single unit. Referring to FIG. 1, the clamp 103 clamps down onto the second base plate 102 b to lock the graft vessel preparation device 100. When the clamp 103 clamps the second base plate 102 b, the spreader arms 108 a and 108 b are held adjacent to each other to form a single unit. After the graft vessel preparation device 100 is placed in the locked position, an operation 204 is performed.

In the operation 204, a graft vessel is placed over the spreader arms of the graft vessel preparation device. The graft vessel is placed over the spreader arms such that the spreader arms occupy an interior of the graft vessel. Referr0ing back to the example and FIG. 1, the graft vessel 112 is placed over the spreader arms 108 a and 108 b after the graft vessel preparation device 100 is locked. The graft vessel 112 is placed over the spreader arms 108 a and 108 b such that the spreader arms 108 a and 108 b occupy an interior of the graft vessel 112, as shown with respect to FIG. 1. Once the graft vessel 112 is placed over the spreader arms 108 a and 108 b, an operation 206 is performed.

In the operation 206, the spreader arms separate within an interior of the graft vessel. The spreader arms separate within the interior of the graft vessel until the spreader arms stretch the graft vessel. In one embodiment of the present invention, the graft vessel is stretched until a distance between the spreader arms is half the circumference of the graft vessel, such that the graft vessel is stretched flat. As the spreaders arms come into contact with the interior surface of the graft vessel, the spreader arms exert a force on the graft vessel which is equivalent to or less than the force exerted by the blood pressure of blood that normally flows through the graft vessel. Once the spreader arms separate within the graft vessel, the spreader arms may be pushed further into the graft vessel to fully support the end of the graft vessel. In addition, after the spreader arms separate within the graft vessel, the spreader arms may be locked to maintain the proper stretched configuration. Turning back to the example and FIG. 2, the spreader arms 108 a and 108 b separate within the interior of the graft vessel 112. As described earlier, the spreader arms 108 a and 108 b separate due to the force applied by the tension spring 114. The tension spring 114 continues to separate the spreader arms 108 a and 108 b within the graft vessel 112 until the spreader arms 108 a and 108 b are in contact with interior walls of the graft vessel 112. Once the spreader arms 108 a and 108 b fully separate within the interior of the graft vessel 112 and apply the desired force, the method performs an operation 208.

In operation 208, the graft vessel is secured with a clamp. When the clamp is secured to the graft vessel, incision points on the graft vessel are defined where the graft vessel and the clamp intersect with one another. The incision points define a critical dimension of the graft vessel and where the graft vessel will be'sliced, as will be discussed further with reference to operation 210. Turning back to the example and FIG. 4A, the graft vessel preparation device 100 includes the first clamp portion 110 a as previously described. Thus, as the graft vessel 112 was placed over the spreader arms 108 a and 108 b in the operation 204, the graft vessel 112 was laid over the first clamp portion 110 a. Therefore, in the operation 208, the second clamp portion 110 b is attached to the first clamp portion 110 a (shown with reference to FIG. 1) with the fasteners 116 to form the clamp 110. The intersection of the clamp 110 and the graft vessel 112 define the incision points 120 a and 120 b where the graft vessel is to be sliced in the operation 210.

Prior to slicing the graft vessel in the operation 210, the spreader arms are mounted further within the interior of the graft vessel. The spreader arms are pushed further within the graft vessel in order to assist the incisors in the slicing operation. In this embodiment, the spreader arms contain grooves which provide a surface for the incisors as the incisors slice graft vessel. Moreover, the groove provides a track which facilitates the slicing of the graft vessel during the slicing operation described with respect to the operation 210.

In the operation 210, the graft vessel is sliced after the graft vessel is secured with the clamp in the operation 208. Referring back to FIG. 4A and the example, the incisors 118 a and 118 b slice the graft vessel 112 from the incision points 120 a and 120 b outward to an end of the graft vessel 112. As described earlier, the incision made in the graft vessel 112 is made such that the graft vessel 112 may be properly grafted to the target vessel 124 during the vascular anastomosis procedure. Once the graft vessel 112 is sliced in the operation 210, the graft vessel 112 and the clamp 110 are removed from the graft vessel preparation device 100 in operation 212. The graft vessel 112 and the clamp 110 are removed from the graft vessel preparation device 100 by disengaging the clamp 110 from the graft preparation device 100 and sliding the graft vessel 112 off of the spreader arms 108 a and 108 b. After the operation 212 is complete, the graft vessel 212 is ready for grafting to a target vessel during the vascular anastomosis procedure.

Now making reference to FIG. 9, FIG. 9 illustrates a graft vessel preparation device or flapper 148 in accordance with an alternative embodiment of the present invention. In this embodiment, the graft vessel flapper includes a locator clamp 150 having alignment holes 146 and a spreader 136. The alignment holes 146 align the locator clamp 150 with the anastomosis tool 132. In addition, the alignment holes 146 facilitate proper engagement of the graft vessel flapper 148 with the anastomosis tool 132, as will be further discussed with reference to FIG. 16. The locator clamp 150 establishes the critical dimension Y (not shown) of the graft vessel 112, as will be further discussed with reference to FIGS. 12 through 14B. The spreader 136 includes a first spreader arm 136 a and a second spreader arm 136 b, as more clearly shown with reference to FIG. 10A.

FIG. 10A shows the spreader 136, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention. The spreader 136 includes the first spreader arm 136 a and the second spreader arm 136 b which are movable with respect to one another. The spreader arms 136 a and 136 b are moved with respect to one another by a spring 138. The spring 138 is a torsion spring in one embodiment of the present invention which connects the first spreader arm 136 a to the second spreader arm 136 b. The spring 138 attaches to a distal end of the first spreader arm 136 a and a distal end of the second spreader arm 136 b. The spring 138 may be any suitable type of spring which separates the first spreader arm 136 a from the second spreader arm 136 b, such as a torsion spring, a leaf spring, a compression spring, an elastomer having spring-like characteristics, or the like. In one embodiment of the present invention. The spring 138 is a torsion spring having a spring rate in preferably in a range between about 0.001 lbs./deg. to about 0.01 lbs./deg. and more preferably about 0.00156 lbs./deg. The first spreader arm 136 a and the second spreader arm 136 b are configured to receive the graft vessel 112 when the spreader 136 is in a locked position, as shown with reference to FIG. 10B.

FIG. 10B illustrates the spreader 136 in a locked or closed position, in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention. The spreader 136 is locked when an end 136 a-1 of. the first spreader arm 136 a makes contact or is positioned substantially adjacent to an end 136 b-1 of the second spreader arm 136 b, as shown with reference to FIG. 10B. The spreader 136 is placed into the locked position using any suitable technique, such as a clip, a clamp or the like. When the spreader arms 136 a and 136 b are placed in the locked position, the spreader 136 receives the graft vessel 112, as shown with reference to FIG. 11.

FIG. 11 shows the graft vessel 112 placed over the spreader 136, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention. Once the graft vessel 112 is placed over the spreader 136, the first spreader arm 136 a and the second spreader arm 136 b separate within an interior of the graft vessel 112. The spreader arms 136 a and 136 b separate by the action of the spring 138. The first spreader arm 136 a and the second spreader arm 136 b separate until the first spreader arm 136 a and the second spreader arm 136 b are adjacent interior walls of the graft vessel 112 and stretch the graft vessel 112 a desired amount which simulates the condition of the graft vessel when implanted in the body.

Turning back to the graft vessel flapper 148 shown with respect to FIG. 9, the graft vessel flapper also includes the locator clamp 150. The locator clamp 150 includes a critical dimension locator 140, as more clearly shown with reference to FIG. 12. The critical dimension locator 140 has a raised portion 140 a, a base 140 b and threaded fasteners 140 c. The raised portion 140 a is rigidly attached to the base 140 b and may be formed into the base 140 b using any suitable techniques, such as spot welding, injection molding, or the like. In the embodiment shown with respect to FIG. 12, the raised portion 140 a is in a triangular configuration. However, it should be noted that the raised portion 140 a may have any orientation which allows for the establishment of a critical dimension Y for the graft vessel 112, as will be more fully discussed with reference to FIG. 13A. It should also be noted that in an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the raised portion 140 a is not rigidly attached to the critical dimension locator 140. Thus, as will be more fully discussed with reference to FIG. 13A, once a graft vessel is placed on the critical dimension locator 140, the raised portion 140 a may also be coupled with the critical dimension locator 140. The threaded fastener 140 c allows connection between the critical dimension locator 140 and a second clamp half 142 (not shown). The threaded fastener 140 c may be any type of fastener suitable for connecting the critical dimension locator 140 with the second clamp half 142. Also, the threaded fastener 140 c has an edge 140 c-1 and the raised portion 140 a includes an edge 140 a-1. The raised portion 140 a, along width the threaded fastener 140 c, establishes a critical dimension Y for the graft vessel 112 defined between the edges 140 a-1 and 140 c-1, as shown with reference to FIGS. 13A and 13B.

FIG. 13A is an embodiment of the present invention showing the spreader 136, along with the graft 112, engaged with the critical dimension locator 140. After the first spreader arm 136 a and the second spreader arm 136 b separate within the interior of the graft vessel 112, the spreader 136, along with the graft vessel 112, is placed on to the critical dimension locator 140 in order to establish the critical dimension Y. Initially, the spreader 136 and the graft vessel 112 are placed in the critical dimension locator 140 such that the graft vessel 112 resides between the edges 140 a-1 and 140 c-1. After the spreader 136 and the graft vessel 112 are placed within the critical dimension locator 140, the spreader 136 and the graft vessel 112 are rotated in a clockwise direction Z on the critical dimension locator 140, as shown with respect to FIG. 13B.

FIG. 13B shows the spreader 136, along with the graft vessel 112, rotated clockwise within the critical dimension locator 140 in order to establish the critical dimension Y, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention. The spreader 136 and the graft vessel 112 are rotated until the graft vessel 112 comes into contact with the edges 140 a-1 and 140 c-1 at contact points 120 a and 120 b, as shown with reference to FIG. 13B. As previously described, the contact points 120 a and 120 b are the endpoints for the critical dimension Y. In addition, as previously discussed, the critical dimension Y allows for proper grafting of the graft vessel to a target vessel during a vascular anastomosis procedure. Once the critical dimension Y is established on the graft vessel 112, the second clamp half 142 is attached to the critical dimension locator 140.

The second clamp half 142 is more clearly shown with reference to FIG. 14A. The second half clamp 142 includes through holes 142 a and a recess 142 b. The through holes 142 a allow for passage of the threaded fasteners 140 c of the critical dimension locator 140 through the second half clamp 142 such that the second clamp half 142 may attach to the critical dimension locator 140. The recess 142 b allows the raised portion 140 a to fit within the second half clamp 142 when the second clamp half 142 is attached to the critical dimension locator 140, as shown with reference to FIG. 9.

In this embodiment of the present invention, the recess 142 b has a triangular configuration as shown with respect to FIG. 14B such that the critical dimension locator 140 will fit flush with the second half clamp 142. It should be noted that the configuration of the recess 142 b complements the configuration of the raised portion 140 a. Thus, if in an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the raised portion 140 a contains a square configuration, the recess 142 b will also have a square configuration.

Returning to FIG. 9 and the graft vessel flapper 148, once the critical dimension Y is established on the graft vessel 112, the second clamp half 142 is securely attached to the critical dimension locator 140 to form the locator clamp 150. The second clamp half 142 is securely attached to the critical dimension locator 140 by passing the threaded fasteners 140 a through the through holes 142 a of the second clamp half 142. A fastener 140 d is then fixed to the threaded fasteners 140 c. In one embodiment of the present invention, the fastener 140 d may be any suitable type of fastener which securely attaches the second clamp half 142 to the critical dimension locator 140, such as a threaded nut or the like. Once the locator clamp 150 traps and secures the graft vessel 112 in place, the graft vessel 112 is sliced, as shown with reference to FIG. 15.

FIG. 15 shows the graft vessel 112 being sliced with the incisors 118 a and 118 b, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention. The incisors 118 a and 118 b slice the graft vessel 112 from the incision points 120 a and 120 b outward to an end of the graft vessel 112 in order to maintain the critical dimension Y. It should also be noted that in an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the incisors 118 a and 118 b may slice the graft vessel 112 at any point, as long as the critical dimension Y is maintained. For example, the incisors 118 a and 118 b may slice the graft vessel 112 at the points 121 a and 121 b, which, as may be seen with reference to FIG. 15, maintain the critical dimension Y. As described earlier, the incisors 118 a and 118 b may be any type of cutting device suitable for slicing graft vessels, such as a scalpel, a pair of scissors or the like. Once the graft vessel 112 is sliced, the graft vessel flapper 148 is attached to the anastomosis tool 132 in preparation for grafting during the vascular anastomosis procedure, as shown with reference to FIG. 16.

FIG. 16 illustrates the insertion of the graft vessel flapper 148 onto the anastomosis tool 132, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention. As previously mentioned, the anastomosis tool 132 grafts the graft vessel 112 to the target vessel 124 during the vascular anastomosis procedure. The vascular anastomosis procedure is performed using the anastomosis tool 132. Thus, the graft vessel flapper 148 and the graft vessel 112 must be attached to the anastomosis tool 132 in order to complete the vascular anastomosis procedure. The graft vessel flapper 148 is attached to the anastomosis tool 132 via the alignment holes 146. The alignment holes 146 fit over the alignment pins 134 in order to ensure proper fitment of the graft vessel flapper 148 with the anastomosis tool 132. As described earlier, proper fitting of the graft vessel flapper 148 with the anastomosis tool 132 is necessary for proper grafting of the graft vessel 112 to the target vessel 124 during the vascular anastomosis procedure. Once the graft vessel flapper 148 and the graft vessel 112 are attached to the anastomosis tool 132, the vascular anastomosis procedure is performed.

Now making reference to FIG. 17 and a method 300, FIG. 17 shows the method 300 for preparing a graft vessel for an anastomosis procedure in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention. In the method 300, an operation 302 is first performed where a spreader is locked. The spreader is locked in order to allow the placement of a graft vessel over the spreader. For example, turning to FIG. 10B, the spreader 136 is placed in a locked position. As described earlier, the spreader 136 may be locked using any suitable technique, including a clamp, a clip, or simply pinching closed the spreader with a user's fingers such that spreader arms of the spreader are held together. As may be seen with respect to FIG. 10B, the spreader 136 is locked such that the first spreader arm 136 a contacts the second spreader arm 136 b at the ends 136 a-1 and 136 b-1. When the spreader 136 is placed in the locked position, the spreader 136 is configured to receive a graft vessel, as described with respect to an operation 304.

The operation 304 in FIG. 17 is performed once the spreader is locked. In the operation 304, a graft vessel is placed over the spreader while the spreader is in the locked position. After the graft vessel is placed over the spreader in the operation 304, the spreader arms of the spreader are separated within an interior of the graft vessel in the operation 306. Turning back to the example and FIG. 11, once the graft vessel 112 is placed over the spreader 136 in the operation 304, the first spreader arm 136 a and the second spreader arm 136 b separate from each other within the interior of the graft vessel 112. The spring 138 separates the first spreader arm 136 a from the second spreader arm 136 b. The first spreader arm 136 a and the second spreader arm 136 b continue to separate from one another until both the spreader arms 136 a and 136 b come into contact with an interior surface of the graft vessel 112. Once the first spreader arm 136 a and the second spreader arm 136 b separate within the graft vessel 112 in the operation 306, an operation 308 is performed.

In the operation 308, the spreader, along with the graft vessel, is placed onto a graft vessel flapper. As described earlier with reference to the graft vessel flapper 148, the graft vessel flapper establishes a critical dimension on the graft vessel. Turning back to the example and FIG. 13A, the critical dimension locator 140 forms part of the graft vessel flapper 148. As such, the spreader 136 and the graft vessel 112 are placed in the critical dimension locator 140. After the spreader 136 is placed in the critical dimension locator 140, an operation 310 is performed.

In the operation 310, the spreader and the graft vessel are rotated within the graft vessel flapper. The spreader is rotated until the graft vessel comes into contact with edges of the graft vessel flapper. The edges of the graft vessel flapper establish the endpoints of the critical dimension when the graft vessel contacts the edges, thereby establishing the critical dimension on the graft vessel. Referring back to the example and FIG. 13A, the spreader 136 and the graft vessel 112 are rotated in the clockwise direction Z until the graft vessel 112 comes into contact with the edges 140 a-1 and 140 c-1 of the critical dimension locator 140, as shown with reference to FIG. 13B. The graft vessel 112 contacts the edges 140 a-1 and 140 c-1 at the endpoints 120 a and 120 b. As previously described, the endpoints 120 a and 120 b establish the critical dimension Y. Once the critical dimension Y is established in the operation 310, the graft vessel 112 is trapped in operation 311.

The graft vessel 112 is trapped in the operation 311 as a second clamp half is attached to graft vessel flapper. When the second half clamp is attached to the graft vessel flapper, the graft vessel flapper holds the critical dimension Y. Turning back to the example and FIG. 15, the second clamp half 142 is attached to the graft vessel flapper 148. When the second clamp half 142 is attached to the graft vessel flapper 148 when the threaded fasteners 140 c pass through the through holes 142 a and secured with the fasteners 140 d. Once the graft vessel 112 is trapped in the graft vessel flapper 148, the graft vessel 112 is sliced in an operation 312.

Once the graft vessel is sliced in the operation 312, the graft vessel flapper is attached to a anastomosis tool in the operation 314. As described earlier, the anastomosis tool facilitates grafting of the graft vessel to a target vessel during a vascular anastomosis procedure. Making reference to the example and FIG. 16, the graft vessel 112 is first sliced in the operation 312 and then attached to the anastomosis tool 132. As discussed earlier, the graft vessel flapper 148 attaches to the anastomosis tool 132 via the alignment holes 146 and alignment pins 134. Once the graft vessel flapper 148 and the graft vessel 112 are attached to the anastomosis tool 132, the graft vessel 112 is grafted to the target vessel 124 during the vascular anastomosis procedure. This grafting may be performed by any method suitable for grafting a graft vessel to a target vessel, such as suturing, stapling, tissue welding, clamping or the like.

The present invention now offers surgeons an automated method for accurately grafting a graft vessel to a target vessel. The prior art problems of dealing with the innate flexing tendencies of the graft vessel due to the small size and the flexible, circular configuration of the of the graft vessel are obviated with the present invention. Moreover, the graft vessel preparation device accurately and precisely allows the graft vessel to be a cut in a manner which allows a perimeter of the graft vessel end to be matched to a perimeter of an anastomosis site on a target vessel. Thus, the surgeon saves the time required to accurately and precisely slice the graft vessel, thereby decreasing the overall time a patient spends in surgery and decreasing the overall costs associated with spending time in surgery.

Furthermore, as discussed earlier, when a surgeon grafts a graft vessel to a target vessel, an assistant may be required to hold the edges of the graft vessel and assist in preparing the graft vessel for the anastomosis procedure. The clamp of the present invention holds the graft vessel as the graft vessel is placed in the anastomosis tool. The clamp of the present invention also holds the graft vessel during the anastomosis procedure. As such, the need for an assistant to hold the graft vessel during grafting is avoided with the present invention, thereby further reducing the time and the overall costs associated with performing a grafting procedure on a patient.

The above are exemplary modes of carrying out the invention and are not intended to be limiting. It will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art that modifications thereto can be made without departure from the spirit and scope of the invention as set forth in the following claims.

Claims (17)

What is claimed is:
1. A method for preparing a graft vessel for anastomosis to a target vessel, where an anvil is utilized in performing the anastomosis, comprising:
defining a critical dimension along the target vessel, wherein said critical dimension is related to the length of the anvil; and
incising an end of the graft vessel at an angle to the longitudinal centerline of the graft vessel, based on said critical dimension.
2. The method of claim 1, further comprising clamping the graft vessel before said incising.
3. The method of claim 2, wherein said clamping is performed at an angle relative to the longitudinal centerline of the graft vessel.
4. The method of claim 1, further comprising guiding said incising by providing a groove relative to which an incisor can move.
5. The method of claim 1, wherein said critical dimension is substantially as long as the anvil.
6. The method of claim 1, wherein said incising comprises incising a length on the graft vessel substantially equal to said critical dimension.
7. A device for preparing a graft vessel for anastomosis to a target vessel on which a critical dimension is defined, the anastomosis performed with a tool, comprising:
a clamp configured to receive the graft vessel, said clamp including at least one element relating to the critical dimension; said clamp comprising relatively-movable portions and at least one alignment feature configured to align said clamp with the tool.
8. The device of claim 7, wherein at least one said element is an angled surface on said clamp.
9. The device of claim 7, further comprising a plurality of spreader arms biased apart from one another and moveable relative to said clamp.
10. The device of claim 7, wherein said portions are rotatably attached to one another.
11. The device of claim 7, further comprising at least one fastener configured to secure said portions together.
12. A method for preparing the end of a graft vessel for anastomosis to the side of a target vessel, comprising:
holding the graft vessel relative to a fixture; and
making at least one incision in the graft vessel.
13. The method of claim 12, wherein said making includes making at least one incision in the graft vessel substantially parallel to its axial centerline.
14. The method of claim 12, wherein said making comprises making a plurality of incisions in the graft vessel.
15. The method of claim 12, wherein said fixture includes at least one angled surface defined therein.
16. The method of claim 12, wherein said fixture comprises indicia angled relative to the longitudinal centerline of the graft vessel.
17. The method of claim 12, wherein said holding is performed with a clamp.
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